I have always been pretty passionate about Response to Intervention because I truly feel it works at helping students achieve to their maximum potential whether they get the services through regular education or special education. However, it has to be implemented properly with continued support for the teachers in order to see growth. In the previous district I worked, I served on numerous RTI committees, either at the district or school level and experienced both successes and failures when implementing this process. I’m excited to be on the ground level of implementing RTI at the current school I work and I’m hoping to be able to use some of the lesson’s I’ve learned in the past to help create a successful model and implementation process.
Lessons Learned in RTI implementation
When reading Response to Intervention literature, it can sound confusing and like a rather daunting endeavor, especially to a classroom teacher who already has a dozen other things piled on their plate. Keeping it simple at first helps creates buy-in and manages stress from all involved. And in reality it is a rather simple concept…..Do what works with each student. Teach the student based on their need and monitor their progress. If it is not working, change what you are doing or keep doing the same thing if the student is making gains. But whatever you do, do not just continue to do something that is not working.
In order to start simple, the first training we will be giving during grade level planning (another good idea to start with training small groups at a time), is a flipbook that describes the process.
2. Define and Emphasize the Difference between Intervention and Progress Monitoring
It should be emphasized over and over the relationship between intervention and progress monitoring. For some reason these two concepts get interchanged too often and teachers believe that progress monitoring is the intervention. In actuality, progress monitoring is determining if your intervention is effective or not.
As illustrated in the above image progress monitoring and intervention are “two peas in a pod”. They BOTH must be done in order to have an effective RTI model. Aimsweb is a fabulous progress monitoring program that we plan on implementing in the winter, but currently we are using EasyCBM for our progress monitoring tool. Interventions are a vast area that can include so many different tools depending on the student need. I have found the Florida Reading Institute student activities to be very helpful. These activities are researched based and already organized into specific skill. All the teacher or interventionists needs to do is print them off and assemble them. In an attempt to make it easier on the teacher, we have assembled these kits for our teachers. One of our next steps is creating an intervention toolkit.
3. Break it Down Step by Step
It keeps everything much simpler when it is broken down into a step by step process. In order to do this with RTI implementation, using a flow chart can be very helpful. This enables teachers to follow a step by step guide to what needs to happen when. It is also helpful to give teachers a one page referral sheet that all information can be added on to for each student. A sample of what we have use is below. This referral sheet breaks down the process into three main components- Student Information, Intervention, and Progress Monitoring.
4. Provide Continued Training and Support
If any new process is to work, continued professional development is a must. So many times, staff/teachers are introduced to some new “thing” they are required to do and there is no follow up after the initial training. In the past, I have given staff a survey before RTI implementation at the beginning of the year and then a post survey at the end of they year to truly get a gauge on staff learning. Additionally, giving staff simple pointers, reminders, or ideas in a weekly newsletter is a quick and simple way to continue with training. Another helpful idea is to have all materials premade and ready to implement for teachers. I hope to post a future idea on how we plan to make materials quickly and easily available for teachers and parent and our follow training plan.
I believe we are off to a great start. I would love to hear ideas of how others have implemented RTI in their schools!
If you would like a copy of the RTI flipbook, you can check it out here.